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'Don't want to think about it' - Mashrafe shrugs off retirement talk

Mashrafe Mortaza doesn't have any plans of leaving the game just yet Getty Images

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has dismissed talk of his possible retirement from the game at the end of the World Cup, saying that he hasn't given the matter any thought. He did, however, reiterate that this would be his last World Cup.

"This is definitely my last World Cup, but I will not be retiring after the tournament," Mashrafe, 35, told ESPNcricinfo. "I don't want to think about it at the moment, especially with the tournament still in progress. It is a distraction. People become emotional during these times.

"But if there's an instruction from the board, I will have to think about it."

Mashrafe, who became a member of the Bangladesh parliament earlier this year, has never actually hinted at retirement, but speculation has been rife about his future. The move to politics, coupled with his hamstring problems - he has a history of seemingly career-threatening injuries - have only added fuel to the guesswork. But he has led his team well at the World Cup, where Bangladesh have seven points from seven games, and are in the race for the semi-finals.

As for Bangladesh Cricket Board bosses speaking to him about his future, Mashrafe has their backing too. "He is leading the side very well, so we are not thinking of anything at the moment," BCB director Jalal Yunus said. "The decision is up to him, whether he wants to continue playing and leading the side or not. We leave the ball in his court.

"The board is fully focused on the World Cup, as we are now in with a chance to play in the semi-finals."

Bangladesh don't have a lot of ODIs coming up in the next 12 months, although they play a lot of T20Is in the run-up to next year's World T20 in Australia. As for the World Cup, they have group-stage fixtures lined up against India (Birmingham, July 2) and Pakistan (Lord's, July 5).